Thanksgiving 2020

The Thanksgiving Day service is the only ‘special’ service the Christian Science church offers. The readings from the desk include the Presidential proclamation for Thanksgiving, as well as a few passages from The Bible and Science and Health. The service is then opened to the congregation for them to share ‘testimonies of healing and sharing of experiences in Christian Science.’

The following are testimonies from Ex-Christian Scientists, as they give thanks for having left Christian Science. Thank you all for your contributions!

We at The Ex-Christian Scientist offer no readings, or lengthy proclamations, merely our sincerest thanks for everyone who has contributed to our efforts. We do not advocate any one particular path but acknowledge that there are many legitimate pathways that can be personally and spiritually fulfilling.

All Thanksgiving posts are tagged Thanksgiving. Comments are moderated and closed automatically after 30 days.


I’m grateful for finally realizing the extensive, deep trauma my time in Christian Science has left me with, so that I can finally get the help I need. I’m grateful for my wonderful therapist, who showed me that prayer was not the only way to heal. Lastly and most importantly, I’m grateful for the opportunity to finally see the world as it truly is—completely and entirely REAL—and that I can finally allow myself to experience the purely human existence we all deserve.

– Sarah R.


I am thankful for the friendships that I’ve made with people who push me out of my comfort zone. I never would have made these friendships in my CS days because I would have worried that these people and their diverse and interesting ideas would somehow ruin my immaculate thoughts. I’m grateful that I know how to think for myself now, and that I have relationships that bring me joy as a result.

– Anon.


I want to express my gratitude today and every day for having medical care now.

But I will get back to that in a moment. One thing I was taught in Christian Science was black and white thinking. This means that “if we think good thoughts from God, then we will experience only good things in our life!” vs. “if we think thoughts that aren’t from God, like feelings of imperfection and sickness, then we won’t be able to get the good things from God in our life.”

We were constantly told, in Christian Science, to “align our thoughts with God!” And we were taught that bad things don’t exist because there is no room for bad things to exist, because God, Good, fills all space! If we find ourselves feeling less that God-like, then we must have changed our thought and lost our focus on God.

This is not something that Christian Scientists do only on Sundays during church, and then forget about the rest of the week. No, this is something they strive to do 24/7. “Pray without ceasing.” It’s a command, to constantly align our thoughts with God. We were never allowed to feel frustrated, angry, weak, “less than,” sick, pride, sadness, grief…. we were only allowed to ever feel grateful, happy and joyous. That’s IT. No emotional spectrum that is normal for healthy humans to feel.

When I left Christian Science, I had this erroneous belief that medical science must be the cure all, since Christian Science prayer and “treatment” hadn’t healed me. I had been taught you can ONLY do medial or Christian Science treatment, not both together because they would cancel each other out. I had always chosen Christian Science treatment.

I rejected Christian Science for myriad reasons, some of which were long standing problems that wouldn’t yield simply to my God-like thought.

So, naturally, I assumed that now I was pursuing medical care, that it would completely fix me. I have seen this from so many other Ex Christian Scientists. We are often stunned when medical science can’t cure us in one visit, or give us a magical pill that will cure us after a period of time. It took some learning on my part to realize that medical science is an ACTUAL Science. It takes time to figure out problems, it takes time to hypothesize what might be wrong. Tests need to be done which may or may not bear out the theory. And maybe operations or medicines get tried over the course of finding help for our long standing problems that honestly never had any care despite that we were taught that Christian Science Treatment “is the best care.” (It’s actually just ignoring a problem and thinking good thoughts at it; it’s not effective in any way. Christian Scientists would argue me on this point, but they are actually wrong. The human body has an amazing ability to heal a whole lot of its problems without interference. The human body is quite an amazing miracle!)

Anyway, so I am so grateful for medical care. I had heart surgery almost 2 years ago now and it helped me so much. I now know when my heart is jumping around and being weird, that it won’t actually kill me. Before the heart surgery, I was at danger of being killed by my heart. But now most of that problem has been fixed with a surgery that I got to go home from at the end of the day.

I have had several different heart medicines to mitigate the rest of the problem. I have been enduring a different lasting heart problem post-surgery for the last year, because I have been on the wrong medicine. Last week, my doctor heard me and I felt like I saw a light bulb go on over his head, he finally understood the scope of the issue I have been dealing with multiple times per day. He read my entire chart – what medicines I have been on, how I have responded to them, when I had the surgery …. And then he prescribed a different medicine for me!

I have been on this new medicine for about a week now, and it is so promising. I am not having the problem I have been experiencing for the last year post-surgery. Not like I was. I imagine in 2 months he will increase my dose. But for now, I need to be on this smaller dose while my body adjusts to this medicine.

I am just so grateful for medical care and actual science that may take time to sort out what is wrong, but then finds a solution over time. I may not have the “perfect” body that works as well as it did when I was in high school, but I am grateful to have medical care that is helping me live a better life than I would be without it, and relying only on my thoughts and exclusive, unending positivity.

– Former Christian Science Practitioner


This is my first testimony of any kind, and it will probably be my last. I am grateful to Christian Science for coming to me in my life where I needed to learn that religion and life could be a positive experience. I am equally grateful that I am no longer a Christian Scientist, as I have moved on. Among the positive things that Christian Science taught me was about how love is unlimited and that we all are part of a much larger spiritual world that we cannot see. I moved beyond Christian Science when I felt the religion, and religion as a whole limited my ability to further understand where I (we) fit in the universe that extends beyond existence in this material, physical world. I am married to someone who is still practicing CS and I support her in her quest for understanding, as she supports me in mine. It was probably much easier for me to move on from CS as I was not raised in the religion. I married into a CS family where more than half of the extended family members have moved on from CS as well. Some have left for reasons that are expounded by members on this FB page, and some have left for reasons like mine. CS just did not answer their questions. The move beyond CS can be done. It has been done. It is not easy. I have family and friends that have discharged themselves from true cults that gaslight their members and dwell in the realm of hyper-negativity. One’s truth can be found anywhere, and I believe it is up to each individual to find their own truth, and not be constrained by peer and family pressure. I respect everyone who are working to find their true path in the uncovering and developing of their spirituality. Even if this path is in a church that I no longer support. Blessed be.

– CWL


On this beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I want to thank all the testifiers for sharing. I thank the admins of this website for giving us this space to share with each other every year.

In Christian Science, I was taught to constantly be grateful about everything, no matter what. Be grateful for severe pain in my back, because it taught me to pray to God. Well, I have known someone for 2 decades now who has never washed their hands with soap. This morning, as I washed my hands for the 5th time in less than 30 minutes (I was doing the dishes and cleaning my sink and preparing food … lots of hand washing during kitchen activities), I was suddenly grateful to realize that the Corona Virus has scared this person into finally washing their hands with soap and wearing a real mask! At first, they were wearing a flimsy cloth covering, but now is a proud owner of an actual, industry prepared mask. So I am grateful to the Corona Virus for teaching this person to wash their hands with soap and to wear a proper mask and respect something other than themselves – respecting science and a virus.

I look forward to medical science and government distribution planning to get everyone the vaccine. I am grateful to medical science – all the Lab Coat Heros – the scientists who wear lab coats who are working so hard to find a cure and to find a vaccine. They are doing good work and I look forward to getting my vaccine when it’s available to the American Public.

– Chrystal C


I am grateful for every single material cell in my material body and for materia medica for finding material treatments for material disease that have enhanced and prolonged my material life. I’m also grateful for Stephen Sondheim, whom I choose to call God. But that’s just me.

– Mike L.


I am grateful for medical science and for advances in mental health treatment. Having lived unhappily for nearly seventy years as a male, I was somewhat stunned when the dam broke last year and I began to transition to female. With help from supportive doctors, counsellors, and my wife, I am now living full time female. I am undergoing facial and body electrolysis, and my hair is growing out to show more clearly my femininity. I take testosterone suppressants and estrogen, and hope, when I have been on hormones for a year, that I will be able to have genital re-purposing surgery (my term).

With my cs background, I had lived my life denying this truth about myself. In childhood, my Sunday School education helped load my brain with mbe’s inhumane ideas about the unreality of matter and the unreality of unhappiness. Because of cs, I buried my pain with humor and superficiality in relationships. Now, rather than paying practitioners peddling preposterous propositions plagiarized from Phineas Quimby, I regularly receive real reinforcement from recognized, registered therapists. I am so grateful to be free of mbe’s insanity, and grateful to know so much more of the terrible truths about cs.

– Linda


My kids and I are enjoying our annual viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while we eat our annual Thanksgiving feast of nachos and I am so happy not to have the exhausting work and cleanup of endless cooking after Christian Science church service.

I want to share my thanks for my family members who are still Christian Scientists who, for whatever reason, are respecting the state laws and suggestions around the Corona Virus. I am so grateful they are wearing masks and understanding my rules around having socially distant, outside, small group visits with them. Sitting outside, far apart from each other, and still wearing our masks. My Christian Science family members are being kind and considerate of my understanding of the science behind the Corona Virus, even if they believe that this virus and disease is fake and a figment of mortal mind or something like that. I am so glad they are being honest with me when I ask them about their own social distancing that they do during the week. They are being kind and understanding not to invite my family to large holiday gatherings this year.

I also want to share my huge joy at medical care for keeping my Grandpa, a lifelong Christian Scientist, around. We celebrated his 99th birthday right before this Corona Virus issue cropped up. And in a few short months, he will turn 100. It is our hope that a cure and a vaccine will be available in the spring so we can throw him a proper 100 year old birthday party. How often does our grandparent turn 100?

He wouldn’t have made 80 years old if it wasn’t for heart surgery to put in a pace maker. I am so grateful for the medical science that has kept my grandpa alive through a few kinds of cancer and heart issues. I am grateful that my grandpa has turned to medical care over the years and not just succumbed to the cancers and heart problems he has endured. He has expressed guilt to me for not understanding Christian Science enough, but I am glad he has done the right thing and gotten the care. He is such a great man and I am glad my kids have gotten to know him over the years.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

– Jodi Rose


If you would like some completely optional additional reading to accompany today’s testimonies, Rethinking Gratitude without God by Brian Peck has provided some food for thought this Thanksgiving season.


Thank you everyone for your Thanksgiving Testimony contributions, this concludes our post. Should inspiration strike, the comment section will remain open for 30 days.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season. The ExCS Admin Team.

Happy Father’s Day, Part 3: My dad’s final chapter

The following musings on Father’s Day are by ExCS Group Member and Contributor Chrystal. This is part 3 of 3.


As my dad’s condition got worse and worse, he stayed at home. For decades. He did his best. He kept a happy attitude. I think it was the last 2 or 3 days of his life that he finally lost his chipper attitude and gave up. Before that, for decades of horrendous Parkinson’s Disease ravaging his body, my dad kept his cheerful attitude. He was patient. He couldn’t speak, and most people didn’t have the patience to try to listen to him. I was always incredibly grateful when someone kind would actually sit and listen to him. Parkinson’s Disease is a disease that freezes up your body. It stops the throat from being able to swallow, the voice from being able to speak, the hand from doing something simple like brushing teeth or putting clothes on and off frequently (like for using the toilet). My dad could barely speak above a whisper. Each word was either strung together because he finally got the strength to speak it all, and we couldn’t understand, or it was one painfully forced out word at a time. Even in this condition, my dad still told jokes. Thankfully, for most of my life, he told the same jokes, so he would only need to refer to a word or two and we would know which joke it was that he was telling. My dad never deserved ANY of this.

While he was at home “being taken care of” by his wife, his hands turned black from dirt and lack of being washed. His teeth started to fall out from lack of good oral hygiene. (Remember, he couldn’t brush his own teeth anymore.) He couldn’t always make it to the bathroom and needed help most of the time once he was in there. So he often had a “potty jar” near him. (A large jug that laundry detergent comes in.) This was too often taken away from him, because his wife thought it was disgusting. It wasn’t until just a few months before he died that he got a real commode, and someone was hired to clean it out every morning.

My dad’s feet turned black from pacing the floor. His feet were so dirty. I never thought about it, and I didn’t live at home at the time. I was out of college and on my own. I came back for visits, but didn’t think much about all of it. My dad never complained. He was much too nice to complain. But he was being subjected to elder abuse. His wife hired Christian Science Nurses to come in to help. You know what sort of help they gave? They did the dishes. They emptied and loaded the dishwasher. Maybe they got my dad dressed, but I am not sure. They would come in for maybe an hour, 3 times a week. That was it. They were nice people. But were they actually doing any nursing? NO!

I remember my dad hiring a Practitioner to pray. She wasn’t listed in the Christian Science Journal, but was probably working towards that. She agreed to take his case even though he was on medicine. She was nice enough. Her bills were dutifully paid. My dad kept getting worse. (That Practitioner died too young a few years later, after losing her mobility and ending up in a wheelchair looking very frail.) The Christian Science Nurses were dutifully paid. My dad kept getting worse. My dad called other practitioners, even ones who were listed in the Christian Science Journal. My dad kept getting worse. He was on a full array of medicines. He kept getting worse. Every practitioner blamed my dad for his condition.

I remember coming home and seeing my dad’s filthy dirty glasses. I would clean them, and he would mouth, “thank you.” He loved that. A family member saw my dad at a family gathering with his black hands, and got a washcloth to wash his hands off. My dad mouthed “thank you” to this kind family member. Where was my dad’s wife during these things? Ignoring him. She has a never ending “to do list,” and takes daily hour long “prayer walks.” She did everything she could to avoid taking care of my dad. She hired people to come in. If she had to take care of him, she yelled at him constantly. I have yet to ever see a kind bone in her body appear. Oh yeah, that’s right, Mary Baker Eddy says that we aren’t made up of bones, therefore bones don’t exist.

I went to my dad’s house regularly during what turned into the last year of his life. I have never been trained in any way to take care of someone. I was a Christian Scientist at the time. I did my best, because I loved my dad. Another Christian Scientist came in every morning. We were having some sort of (mediocre) care for my dad around the clock at this point in his life. My dad was now struggling with Alzheimer’s and hallucinations. He needed to be watched so he wouldn’t hurt himself, mostly. He fell down all the time. He kept forgetting to use his walker and would launch himself across the room and fall. His falls shook the house consistently.

My dad also started having seizures. At one point, his breathing stopped. I was there at the home with the other person – a Christian Scientist who was hired to take care of him. My dad’s lips started to turn blue. I was basically hitting him and yelling at him saying, “Dad! Dad! Dad! Breathe! Dad! Breathe! Please, Dad! Breathe!” I was getting super upset. I yelled at the other woman to “Dial 911!” I hollered at her over and over. She laughed and laughed. She thought it was hilarious. She thought all of this was a joke. I was panicking and crying and screaming to get my dad to breathe and she was standing over there, laughing and laughing. Oh, I was also holding him up with my arms, because he would have fallen on the floor if I had let go. That’s why I couldn’t call 911, and desperately needed her to do it. My dad did eventually wake up from this seizure. I made a huge stink about this to his wife, and told her we could no longer give him the care he needed. He needed better care, he needed around the clock medical care at that point. He needed to go in to a care facility.

She and I both knew very clearly how much he never wanted to go to a care facility. So, she did what she did best; she controlled the information she gave to him. She was going away for a weekend to a Christian Science Retreat. She told him that she was going to put him in a senior care facility an hour away, and she would come get him in a week. My dad fought the idea, but eventually acquiesced.

After a few days, she visited him. He begged her to take him home. At this point, she had decided this would be his permanent arrangement. She told him in one way or another, “oh, you’re here for now,” or she avoided the topic all together: “I’ll be back next week.” My dad would try to speak as she left the room, “I want to go home,” and she would act like she hadn’t heard him. Finally, after a month of these shenanigans, she made it clear he wasn’t coming home. My dad stopped eating. He nearly starved to death. He was so dehydrated. His tongue was shriveled up, it was so dry. One of his arms was horribly swollen and scary looking. The facility rushed him to a hospital. The hospital staff said he would die within 48 hours.

At this point, it became apparent that we had to tell his dad and my dad’s siblings that my dad might die soon. They all rallied and came to visit him. To say their goodbyes. Because of the amazing medical care, my dad got better. His wife was so excited to see him drinking water. I sat there, seething at her, for having put him in this position. I had no clue what to do about any of it. But he was clearly getting horrendous care at this so called “senior care facility.” My dad drank water and drank water. He was so thirsty. He was released back to the senior care facility. His family came to visit him there. We all thought he would be okay. She thought that him drinking water was a healing. Because, of course it was. No mention of the IVs in his arm giving him fluids and sustenance over night and the medical nurse stationed at the doorway 24/7.

Within a month, my dad was on hospice. He’d made a few more trips to the Emergency Room for either pneumonia, dehydration or starvation. He had a very bad fall and cracked his head open. This required many stitches. I have since learned that when a person has a very bad fall, they may lose the ability to do basic things, like eating. It may not happen that same day, but within a few days, it may be clear that they don’t know how to eat. So people in a good care facility watch to see if someone who has had a fall, is still able to feed themselves. My dad forgot how to eat. No one noticed. He was living an hour away in a senior “care” home. His wife visited him once a weekend, for maybe a few hours at a time. The staff kept such horrendous records that they had no clue that he would go 3 days at a time with no food or water.

My dad was put on hospice. Hospice is actually a wonderful thing for people to be put on. It’s completely paid for by the state. There are no bills that come. Often, hospice buys the person a brand new bed. The bed is made to be as comfortable as possible. Nurses and doctors come and go and check on the person all day long. They read charts and administer pain killer including morphine. They listen to the patient and they will even play games with them. My dad made friends with his hospice nurses. My dad taught his hospice nurses to play Poker. The nurse looked at my dad, as he lay there, on the floor (to keep him from falling), and said, “he says I’m doing it wrong, don’t you?” And my dad smiled with his eyes. He had that happy glint in his eyes, the glint of laughter, even when he was on hospice care and had less than a week to live.

The previous summer, the doctor had given him a clean bill of health, saying he was going to live another 10 years. That was late one summer. By Christmas, my dad was in hospice and died before he saw the New Year.

Through it all, he always hoped to be healed through Christian Science. The last time he interacted with someone was with me. He was in pain, and on hospice treatment. I asked him, “do you want pain medication?” and he shook his head, “no.” I could see in his eyes that he was STILL hoping for a Christian Science Healing of the Parkinson’s Disease he had lived with for 25+ years. He was put on morphine the next morning. He was still a few years away from being 70, and he died.

After he died, I hit heavy grief. Of all the things that had happened to me through the course of my life as a Christian Scientist, this was the final straw that propelled me out of Christian Science completely. My kind, amazing, wonderful, sweet, friend-to-everyone, creative Dad died. His wife and I were talking about 1 month after he died. She was surprised that I was grieving his death. I seethed inside, that she had no pain about his death at all. She just went on with her life, glad to be done with the burden. She brags that she never shed a tear for either of her parents’ death, nor for my dad’s death. The woman is a stepford wife robot. She thinks she is loving and proclaims herself to be so. But all I see is cruelty.

In her surprise, she asked me why I was still grieving my dad’s death (only weeks later) and why was I so mad at Christian Science? I told her, “if ANYONE deserved a healing, it would have been my kind and amazing dad!” I choked out those words, I could hardly speak from the pain of it.

Her response?

She said, “Don’t you think if he had read more Christian Science literature that he would have been healed?”

Victim Blaming. That is clear victim blaming. You can read about Victim Blaming Here and more about it here. Christian Scientists are champions of victim blaming. If a person hasn’t received a healing through Christian Science Treatment, it’s their own fault for “not understanding it enough.” A Quaker Friend of mine who is also a doctor calls this, “the blame theory of disease,” so it’s not just a Christian Science thing.

To my dad:

You didn’t deserve any of this. You didn’t cause ANY of this. None of it was your fault. You were trampled by a horrible mom, then married two women who also trampled you horribly because you were denied therapy to help you understand your own pain growing up in such a horribly unsupportive home. You never deserved to be controlled or abused. If I had known then what I know now (after years of my own real psychotherapy to heal my own grief, anxiety, depression, ADHD), I would have turned your case over to a state agency. They would have inspected your home decades ago and taken you away from that abusive situation.

 

You cleaned up after me when I was a child. You were always kind to me. Above all, you taught me what kindness is, and through this example, I could see clearly what kindness isn’t. Thank you. I love you forever.

After my dad died, about 2 evenings later, I was watching the sunset, and thinking about my dad as I stood there, crying. I felt as if he came to me. I know some people will say I sound crazy, but I’m not the only person who has stories to share like this. If this was my imagination soothing me, so be it. It felt like my dad came to visit me. He was so excited. He was once again the happy man he was when he was between wives, and it was just the two of us living together. He was running around, with his healthy legs, and goofy grin. He was so excited to meet all these amazing historical people in the afterlife. He was talking with all of them and learning their stories. I feel strongly that my dad is now living the happy life he always wanted to – meeting interesting people, and listening to their fascinating stories. I feel like my dad is finally happy, eager, enjoying life. What he found too little of in this material life, I feel he has gained in the afterlife. I still miss him terribly, but I am glad to fervently feel that he is finally happy now.

Now, I’m off to call my dad’s dad and wish him a “Happy Father’s Day!” I am glad that he turned to medical care when he needed it. As a result, my kids have gotten to know him and he is still around to visit with and talk with. He is the last grandparent my kids have, and they love him so much.

I was the worst daughter they ever saw

By Sharon, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

I get upset and frustrated when I think of what my mother put herself and the rest of us through at the end of her life. She knew she had the cancer for years. She waited and tried to ‘heal’ it until the tumor was as big as her breast, then decided she would have it and the breast removed because it looked “like it might break open and that happened to another lady in the church and it smelled awful.”

So, she had that operation but refused any further treatment, and eventually the cancer metastasized to her spine, causing enormous pain. She was finally so disoriented that I was able to get her to the hospital. Once there, I felt like I was judged to be lacking in any sort of sense. I was told that the cancer had metastasized to her brain, and they looked at me like I was the worst daughter they ever saw that I would let my mother suffer and get all this cancer all over her with no treatment.

Knowing that my mother would have done the same thing to me as a child is no comfort. I have often thought about the fact that I know without a doubt that my mother would have let me die at the altar of Christian Science and I would have had no control over it, just as I had no control over what she did about her own illness.

It was our fault that my father died because we let him out of our ‘experience.’

By Sharon, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

Christian Scientists have a lack of humanity, sympathy, empathy—whatever you want to call it—in the face of death. It’s downright weird. My mother’s explanation to me about my Grandpa’s death when I was just a little girl was, “Oh, he could be down the street, or he could be upstairs.” I could never figure it out, whether he had become invisible to me or what.

I had a grandmother who was of a sort of Mennonite religion. She had lost a little boy when he was six. She would tell me how he died, and how he went to heaven, and how she wasn’t worried because she knew she would join him some day, and she would rejoice when she did. I very much preferred Grandma’s story because I couldn’t figure out why my Grandpa would just be ‘down the street’ and wouldn’t come see me.

Later on my aunt died and I went to her funeral. My mother actually went with me, which was unusual. They had a sermon which included statements about how we should be glad because she would be seeing her husband and other loved ones. My mother left the funeral and said, “that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. She will NEVER see her husband again because she let him die.”

My mother also once told me that it was our fault that my father died because we let him out of our ‘experience.’ My passive father had waited for my mother’s permission to seek treatment for his throat cancer, but by then it was too late. She said that my father had just gone on and he didn’t know he had died and he still had all of us, but we had let him go.

When my mother’s mother died, I was eight years old. I was never told that she died. I was told that a package was to be delivered and I was just to sign for it and put it on the kitchen table. It was my grandmother’s ashes. My mother acted as if nothing had happened.

My mother was a class-taught Christian Scientist by a teacher who was taught by a student of Mary Baker Eddy’s. My mother spent countless hours with that teacher between her Association meetings. She wrote many, many letters to the teacher, received many back. She non-stop studied, talked, researched all Mrs. Eddy’s writings. Certainly during all these visits and during her class or Association meetings, the subject of death—or non-death, I should say—came up. She was taught this malarkey somewhere.

The emotional pain can not be described.

By Ann, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

In most Christian traditions, death can be seen as a mercy, where people find comfort in knowing that their loved one is relieved of pain and restored to wholeness when they pass. I hate it that Mary Baker Eddy took that away, claiming that even after death, we still had to outgrow whatever ailments had afflicted us in life.

My mom adored her mother and they were very close. When my mom was in her late twenties, her mother suffered two leg amputations due to diabetes. She died a short time later and my mother was devastated.

My elder brother became a big deal Christian Science practitioner. Mom asked him—the font of all spiritual wisdom—if her Mama’s legs had been restored when she ‘made the transition’ to heaven. My brother told her, “no, because it’s still something that she has to work out.”

We talk here about the physical pain this religion inflicts, but the emotional pain that simple statement cost my mother can not be described in mere words. My mother asked me for reassurance about it a dozen times, and each time, I’d take her hand, look into her eyes and tell her, “Mom, I’ve read at least three dozen books on near-death experiences, and I promise you that your mama has her legs now, and that the moment she passed the pain was gone, and she was restored to wholeness and peace.”

The ‘Comforter’? Like hell.

Christian Scientists are ignorant about sickness and its development.

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about how illness and death are ‘handled’ in Christian Science.

Christian Scientists are ignorant about sickness and its development. They have no idea how to interpret their symptoms and instead of getting medical advice they blame themselves for creating the problem with their incorrect thinking.

– Anonymous


This is the dark side of all mentalities that insist on seeking alternatives to basic medical care: it’s all well and good when you’re young and healthy, but eventually you get old or have health problems and end up suffering horribly.

– Hilary


Growing up, our family went to the orthodontist and dentist regularly, but we weren’t allowed to use Novocaine and I suffered through several fillings without it. We also went to the eye doctor to have eye exams and wore glasses, but never had vaccinations or went to the doctor for life-threatening illnesses. It really doesn’t make any sense, but a brainwashed Christian Scientist doesn’t see it that way.

– Anonymous



I lost both my parents relatively early in life to very treatable illnesses, and my oldest sisters who are both devout Christian Scientists have had a tough go of it. One had breast cancer and the other had colon cancer, and I don’t think The Mother Church will let her be a Practitioner now, so it is the end of her life-long dream. They both waited until they were on death’s door before seeking medical treatment at the urging of their children. After receiving medical treatment they both said later that they felt bad that they just did not continue to pray, and said that they felt pressured to seek medical help. I think I am resigning myself to watch them die messy deaths before their time, just like my parents.

– Anonymous


I will never understand how it is that when someone loses a loved one under Christian Science care, especially a child, it doesn’t occur to them that in 99% of the cases the individual would have survived with medical care. I have several friends who are examples of this. In my mind, it is what makes Christian Science a cult.

– Stacey


When I was 22, a hernia provided a very difficult challenge for me. Being a third generation Christian Scientist, I went to a practitioner. In those days, before long distance healing, I went to his office once a week and listened, and was told to have no fear. He kept telling me I was healed and not to be afraid. I resumed activities.

The hernia strangulated while I was at work, and I went into the hospital as an emergency case. It was quite an experience. I learned how to take a pill for the first time and a lot of other good things. Thinking about it now, I don’t remember hearing of many, if any, hernia healings. Do you?

– Anonymous

My Departure (Jeremy)

By Jeremy, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

The best way I’ve been able to describe my departure from Christian Science is as ‘death by a thousand cuts’. In a sense, it’s a process that evolved over my lifetime up until I made my final break. I was born into Christian Science and was third-generation on both sides of my family. Throughout my childhood, and into my adult years, I always had questions, always harboured doubts about Christian Science. I even briefly left in my late teens, but returned by the time I was 20. All the while, I desperately wanted to ‘make it work’, and it was that desire that kept me ‘in’ for so long.

Continue reading “My Departure (Jeremy)”

“Are Sin Disease and Death Real?” taught us the obvious answer: no.

 

The following is a collection of contributions from members of the Ex-Christian Science collective about Church and Sunday School. 

 

 

When I was about ten, and a student of the Christian Science Sunday School since I was two, I was so indoctrinated that I thought the last sentence of the Scientific Statement of Being was “Sunday School is dismissed!”

A friend’s father died, and since we had been taught so much about the unreality of death, I decided I should handle it that way. I did not tell my parents, and was expecting to see the departed one walking around any minute. My parents found out about the death from someone else and asked me why I didn’t tell them. I explained all I learned in Sunday School about death! My non-Christian Scientist dad then gave me a talk on reality— real reality.

I was miffed! I talked to a practitioner about this later and she advised me “You don’t walk on the water.” How much should we be expected to handle—or not handle—at the age of ten? Doing some thinking, we had a lesson called ‘Are Sin Disease and Death Real?’ which taught us the obvious answer: no. It made for a very confusing childhood!

– Anonymous


I really liked Sunday School and always enjoyed talking about philosophy and religion. Most of my Sunday School teachers were nice and interesting people. Of course, I always had a nagging feeling that even though I talked the talk, I would someday disappoint everyone in terms of Christian Science.

– Marie


There was a little girl in my Sunday School class; I was shy and awkward and she was pretty and popular. She picked on me very overtly, I mean loudly made fun of me and other things that were downright mean. When I finally got the courage to ask my dad to tell the Superintendent about it, the Superintendent chose to respond by sending me a letter to my home address. She said I was letting personal sense get in the way of enjoying Sunday School, and that I must remember that “we can’t always arrange things exactly the way we would want them to be.”

– Ashley

I just believed what they told me. Because I was a kid!

By an anonymous Ex-Christian Scientist Group contributor.

The Christian Scientists I grew up around all pretty much disappeared the moment my mother drowned in her own bed of a mysterious lung condition after a long period of radical reliance. I can’t say I ever really missed them, though a ‘sorry’ would have been nice.

Some of the people from her church came to the funeral. They avoided me for as much of it as they could, and left as soon as it finished. I never saw or heard from any of them ever again, despite the fact I had known all of them for years, I was a teenager, and they all knew I was then left on my own.

I had tried to stage a sort of adolescent intervention in my mother’s Christian Science treatment. Her best friend was also a Christian Science practitioner, and a fairly big lifelong contributor towards my mother’s reliance on ‘Science’. My mother looked on her as a sort of contemporary Mary Baker Eddy. Of some indeterminate late age, she was a bustling dynamo of a woman who arrived in the middle of a situation, then strode around setting everyone straight and bullying them into ‘Divine Mind’ for their own good. The idea of criticising this woman was almost tantamount to blasphemy, so I was surprised that I would be granted an audience about the issue with my mother present. I stupidly thought it was because we were actually going to talk about my mother’s failing health and devise a plan for managing it.

This meeting with them—where I wanted it to be agreed that she needed to see a doctor—dawned, and I went down from my bedroom with suddenly sweating palms and hammering heart, and this woman just ran rings around me and made me feel about two inches tall. She turned all my carefully planned arguments back at me and by the end of it I wasn’t even sure if the sky was blue and grass green. To cap it off, it was implied that the lack of a healing might be due to my negative thinking. Actually to really cap it off, she finished up with explaining that our family’s poverty was down to my laziness in not applying Christian Science better and that I was now ‘in charge of the finances’ and that she expected to see results from me because it was unfair that my mother had to deal with a physical healing and a situational one while I did nothing. I left meekly agreeing that I would and feeling terrible at my own selfishness. For every day after that until my mother’s death, I felt our poverty and her ill health was my fault. I was thirteen.

I sometimes wonder what I would say to her, or them, now. I would like to give them a piece of my mind, to be honest. I had an absolutely horrible time growing up in Christian Science, and none of it was my fault. I just believed what they told me. Because I was a kid!

There was another group of friends that that my mother had made comparatively very recently through an evening class, who all turned out to the funeral and the wake and all showered me with offers of help if I needed. It was actually the first time I began to understand that people who weren’t in Christian Science were generally a lot nicer and more human than people who were.

She was a true believer and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way

By Paul, an Ex-Christian Scientist Group Contributor.

 

My mother died a long, drawn out death from skin cancer that was also very unnecessary because a routine visit to the dermatologist could have prevented the whole thing. It’s so senseless. After she passed I had a rather cloying conversation with her practitioner (she called me), and the practitioner went out of her way to assure me that at no point did my mother suffer any pain whatsoever. Of course I don’t believe her, and I didn’t then; but the only thing that has been of any help at all, and not much, is that my mother was able to make her exit on her own terms and in accordance with her faith. She was a true believer and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, even if it would have spared her life and she would still be here.

Every now and again after my mother’s horrendous demise, my dad would ask if I wanted to go to church with him, just sort of tossing it out there as if that’s really what I’d been waiting for all along to get right with the world. He finally gave up on that and would lob some Christian Science-isms at me from time to time like he would like to see me “make a better demonstration of supply.” It really annoyed me, not that I guess I rated as a pauper, but that he knew good and well that no one in their right mind goes around talking in code like that, so it seemed a means to try to keep manipulating things back around to Christian Science. My general response, usually after suppressing a chortle, would be simply to tell him that I didn’t know anything about that and I hadn’t for a long time now.